Wednesday, December 19, 2012

TPZ EIS Fails to Address Lower Deck Option

EIS Stresses cost savings against parallel span while ignoring those for lower deck
It talks about the superiority of the concept of a gap between the two spans to hold a deck for transit, compared to building an altogether seperate parallel span.

But it does not talk about the differences in cost effectiveness between the single and duel deck designs, the latter providing more then twice the space.

Whereas the median gap provides a total of 40 feet of width of roadway, the duel deck provides 60 feet in each direction.

From the EIS:

Options 1, 2, 3


The gap between the two structures would affect the manner in which potential future transit modes could be provided in the corridor. As described in the Chapter 1,“Purpose and Need,” one of the project’s objectives is to provide a crossing that “does not preclude future trans-Hudson transit services” in the corridor. The following are options that would not preclude future transit on this corridor:

1) Allow for the incorporation of future transit on the new highway structures without reducing the number of general traffic lanes;

2) Provide for future transit across a third parallel bridge that would be constructed at a later date and that would serve as an exclusive transit right-of-way; or 

 3) Provide additional structural support within the new highway structures as well as a gap between the new highway structures to allow for future transit modes to operate on a new deck that would span the gap at a later date.

These options are illustrated in Figure 2-1.

The Replacement Bridge Alternative would accommodate existing bus services across the Tappan Zee Hudson River crossing; however, the implementation of any options for future transit modes would require a separate and independent environmental review process when and if a proposal for transit services is foreseeable and financing is available. Implementation of future transit services would require modifications at the bridge landings to tie in to upland infrastructure for bus and/or commuter rail operations.

There are various options for such upland connections.

Option 1 would allow for exclusive bus lanes within the left shoulders of the replacement bridge, but infrastructure to support the upland connections to these bus lanes would be needed in Rockland and Westchester Counties.

Option 2 could provide for a new exclusive or combined bus or commuter rail bridge across the Hudson River. However, Option 2 would be costly ($2 to $3 billion) and would result in work in the Hudson River (i.e., dredging and pile driving) for additional foundations to support piers for the new structure that could be avoided with implementation of either Option 1 or Option 3.

Option 3 would allow for either or both bus and commuter rail service across the Hudson River; however, additional strengthening of the new bridge would be required to support the additional loads from any potential transit service within the gap between the new structures. The additional current cost for strengthening the replacement bridge under Option 3, to allow for any future transit service within the gap between structures, would be approximately $200 to $300 million. Should implementation of transit occur in the future, an additional approximately $340 to $620 million (in 2012 dollars) would be required to implement the future infrastructure across the bridge, with an additional $4.4 to $4.6 billion for the commuter rail infrastructure, connections, and stations. In total, the current and future structural cost for transit service within the gap would be $540 to $920 million. In comparison, a new, exclusive transit bridge across the river (i.e., Option2) would cost between $2 and $3 billion just for the new structure. In short, Option 3 would save between $1.5 and $2 billion as compared to Option 2.

Consistent with and in furtherance of the project’s goal to “maximize the public investment in a new trans-Hudson crossing,” planning for additional strengthening and a gap between the two new structures to facilitate Option 3 for transit service is considered prudent at this time. To that end, the Design-Build Contract Documents (Part 3 § include specific provisions for a potential future load, assuming the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) Manual for Railway Engineering

(2012) requirements for commuter rail service.

Furthermore, a 40-foot gap would be provided between the highway structures at the main span towers. The gap would narrow as it approaches landings, but the transit structure and its connections could be provided at a lower elevation (i.e., below the highway deck) at this location. As noted above, the tie-in at the Rockland and Westchester landings may require future modification of highway infrastructure

" In short, Option 3 would save between $1.5 and $2 billion as compared to Option 2. "

Then what about Option 1? 

Rather then simply a 40 foot gap accomadating at best two rail tracks, Option 1 would provide about 62 feet of roadway width in each direction, easily accomodating space for 4 rail trackways allowing a much needed east-west rail freight line, something lacking in the New York City metropolitan area, at an initial cost as I was told by a NYSDOT representative at a recent TPZ bridge meeting, of $200 million (about 7% of a $3-4 billion overall project).

The TPZ EIS strangely ignores the extra economy of provided by the dual deck design, and even its potential, completely failing to assess the cost benifits of the duel deck option versus the mono-deck - listed by officials respectively as the long and short span options.

Likewise strangely: the design approved December 17, 2012 provides a 40 foot wide gap that is intruded upon to some degree of vertical clearance by the outwards canted towers - selected for some obscure or blatant symbolism rather than any utilitarian function - to ensure space for only 2 tracks, half of what we would have with the duel deck that was squashed for reasons that remain obscure.


Monday, December 10, 2012

TPZ Lower Deck Inexplicitly Eliminated

The official option #1

a dropped option #4

The newest designs for the replacement Tappan Zee Bridge all feature a single deck- eliminating the previously proposed lower deck.

As I previously reported, I was told that the lower deck design added $200 million to the initial construction costs, which would be far less expensive than the other options of adding such capacity by a parallel structure.  I've yet to see any numbers to even attempt to justify eliminating the lower deck design.

So if we are to ever add passenger and freight rail capacity by such a parallel structure instead costing 5x the amount- for what?  The preferences of a handful of houseowners so concerned about the height?  Have they noticed the artfully done supports of these previous proposals now being replaced by those less graceful than the NJ Turnpike's elevated viaduct section atop the Meadowlands?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Westway's Real Conflict

Titanic's intended port- torn down anyway in 1989 despite the cancellation of Westway - so much for cancelling highway projects as neccessarily and openly being for historic preservation...
To me this was the sole really interesting building to be displaced by Westway.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Infowars - Fear Over Solutions

Infowars fails to educate its viewers about Hemp, instead promoting generalized anti ethonal propaganda.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

NYC Lincoln Tunnel 190 mph

A publicity stunt to complete the missing Mid-Town Manhattan Tunnel?

Published on Aug 17, 2012 by
Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard ripped through New York's Lincoln Tunnel early Wednesday morning, reaching speeds in excess of 190 mph.

The Scottish driver flew under the Hudson river between New Jersey and New York City in under a minute, as part of a Red Bull Racing promotional tour for the Grand Prix of America scheduled for June next year.

[David Coulthard, Former Formula F1 Driver]:
"It's a weird attack on your senses when you go fast and you've got sort of this closure of the tunnel leading to the point. I was disappointed we couldn't go faster! We managed to do 190mph but I think it would have been great if we could have gone a bit quicker, but to have the opportunity to drive a Formula 1 car from New Jersey to New York it's totally unique."

Earlier in the week, the 13-time winner on the F1 circuit drove the 2011 Red Bull car - last year's champion - around the planned street course of the Grand Prix of America, to test how the high performance vehicle handled the imperfections of the roads.

The race will become only the second street circuit, after Monaco, on the Formula 1 tour, taking drivers around the hills of New Jersey with the Manhattan skyline in the background.

The 2013 Grand Prix of America will become the second U.S. stop for Formula 1, with the United States Grand Prix in Texas hosting its inaugural race at the end of this year.

In the current Formula 1 season, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso is leading the drivers standings, while Red Bull Racing is in pole position for the constructors title.

For more news and videos visit ☛
Follow us on Twitter ☛
Add us on Facebook ☛

Thursday, July 19, 2012

REASONable Road Expansion for Chicago

As reported in Chicago,0,7622725.story

And from REASON

The Reason Foundation transportation plan for Chicago includes:
  • Regional High-Occupancy Toll Lanes Network: A 275-mile (1,100 lane miles), $12.0 billion network of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes that would add two priced lanes in each direction on I-294 (Tri-State Tollway), I-90 (Northwest Tollway), I-88 (East-West Tollway), and I-355 South of I-88. The toll rates in these lanes would vary, based on traffic conditions, to ensure they remain free flowing at all times.

  • Cross Town Tunnel: An 11-mile, $7.1 billion north-south tunnel in the alignment of Cicero Avenue and a nine-mile, $5.8 billion elevated Midway Extension running east along 63rd Street, connecting to the north endpoint of the Chicago Skyway (I-90). This project would allow through-traffic to bypass the downtown area and provide a connection between I-90/I-94, I-290 and I-55, alleviating problems around some of the most debilitating bottlenecks (the Circle and the I-90 Skyway Split).

  • Outer Beltway: A 76.3-mile, $5.0 billion new outer expressway through Cook, DuPage and Will Counties with three toll lanes in each direction.

  • Lake County Corridor: A 32.3-mile, $2.1 billion expressway extension connecting the proposed Outer Beltway with I-94.

  • Northbrook-Palatine Connector: A new 25.3-mile, $1.6 billion freeway running between the I-94/I-294 interchange in Northbrook and the new Outer Beltway in Barrington.

  • Elgin-O’Hare Extension: A 17.3-mile, $1.1 billion extension of the Elgin O’Hare Expressway east to O’Hare International Airport and west to the new Outer Beltway that is similar to a project in the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s Regional Transportation Plan.

  • Illiana Corridor: A 40.5-mile, $2.6 billion extension of the southern end of I-355, connecting Chicago with the state of Indiana.

  • Arterial Queue Jumpers: A $3.5 billion initiative to build more than 50 queue jumpers, special overpasses and tunnels that allow cars and buses to bypass traffic signals at major arterial intersections.

  • Bus Rapid Transit Network: A system of bus routes that would utilize the new toll lanes network to provide express bus service to key locations.

  • Kennedy Tunnel: A 9.8-mile, $6.4 billion tunnel paralleling the Kennedy Expressway that would provide a fast alternative to I-90/I-94.

  • Eisenhower Tunnel: A 7.3-mile, $4.8 billion tunnel paralleling the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) to alleviate one of the nation’s biggest bottlenecks on the Eisenhower between exits 13 and 17.

Would construct new highways, some in tunnelways, to be paid by tolls.

Is criticized by those favoring transit, who themselves are guilty of ignoring highways.

Needs to be coordinated with the existing grid, including upgrading the downtown approaches to and including the Circle Interchange

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sanity Prevails - Sheridan to be Saved

Some 40 misguided protesters overruled by the 100s of truckers who deliver food for people

View Larger Map

Sheridan removal would transfer truck route to crowded local streets, increase truck - pedestrian conflict
Correction about the Sheridan
Submitted by urbanresidue on Sat, 06/23/2012 - 13:27.

The City did not "recently reverse[] the decision to demolish the road".

There was never any decision to remove the Sheridan. The City undertook a study for improvements of the area, which included review of the concept to remove the Sheridan. That concept was eliminated from further consideration after fatal flaws were identified due to the negative impacts it would impose on surrounding residential neighborhoods by rerouting truck traffic onto local streets.

New York's Decision About the Sheridan
Submitted by Charles Siegel on Sat, 06/23/2012 - 21:51.

It is correct that "The City did not 'recently reverse[] the decision to demolish the road." because it had never made the decision to demolish the road.

The city decided not to do a comprehensive study of the costs and benefits of removing the Sheridan, including the benefits of providing more parks, development and jobs.

Instead, it rejected the removal purely on the basis of a traffic study, without looking at the economic and environmental benefits of the removal. The city claimed that increased truck traffic on residential streets was a “fatal flaw” in the removal plan, without considering at all whether the removal might have benefits that outweigh this cost.

Jose Serrano, the US Representative of the district where the Sheridan is located, commented:

“I stand with the community in saying that taking any option off the table at this time is premature When we helped secure the grant for this study, we envisioned a full study of all the options, not one where a challenging option like the removal is quickly discounted. We know that there are difficulties with removing the Sheridan, but we are interested in knowing how that could be accomplished, not hearing that it is too difficult to even continue studying. I urge the city to reconsider and resume studying all options for the Sheridan Expressway.”

Charles Siegel

Residential neighborhoods should not be truck routes
Submitted by urbanresidue on Sun, 06/24/2012 - 08:39.

Any normal planning approach will screen out schemes when untenable defects have been identified in order to focus resources on the remaining alternatives that can actually provide benefits.

Continuing to study something after it becomes clear that it is not a viable solution would be a waste of limited public funds, and would only create more delays before real improvements can be implemented.

It should seem clear to anybody that it would be unacceptable to divert a lot of large trucks onto residential streets on a daily basis, through a community that already has more than its share of environmental burdens. By taking away the Sheridan as an alternate route, the entire residential community in Hunts Point would also be turned into an idling truck parking lot whenever there is the slightest hiccup on the Bruckner (which is not exactly the most reliable, with its extreme congestion and lack of shoulders).

Without any additional study, it should already be clear that even the best-case claims about potential benefits from modest increases in parkland, affordable housing, and supposedly job creation would not balance out the impact to safety, health, and quality of life. (Note that the financial viability of the housing has never been sketched out, let alone demonstrated. The claim about "jobs" is even more dubious, since the plans invariably include removing all the existing M-zone businesses adjacent to the Sheridan that are already employing workers...). Moreover, whatever benefits might theoretically be possible (if the fatal flaw could be ignored) would be located far to the north of the residents in Hunts Point who would feel the impacts.

Unless there is some valid argument against the traffic findings (which has not yet been made by any of the opponents), the City is doing the right thing by looking at the other options to improve this area, non-specific statements by an elected official notwithstanding.

Highway removal can be an amazing tool for planners to improve communities. But like every tool, it is not suitable for every job. Unlike other urban highways with a lot of personal vehicle trips that can shift to transit or redistribute among many other routes, this is a truck route for big rigs that would otherwise be forced onto neighborhood streets.

Sheridan Removal Without Trucks On Neighborhood Streets
Submitted by Charles Siegel on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 09:29.

The South Bronx River Watershed Alliance has found flaws in the city's perfunctory traffic analysis, and it has suggested two possible ways to tear down the Sheridan and still give trucks a convenient way to get to Hunts Point market without using neighborhood streets:

-- Allow trucks to use the lower level of the George Washington Bridge, so they could easily take the Major Deegan and Bruckner to the market.

-- Add a ramp from the Cross-Bronx to West Farms Road, a truck route that runs parallel to the Sheridan.

For more details, see

These flaws in the city's traffic study underline the need for the thorough study of the Sheridan tear-down that the city is refusing to do.

Charles Siegel

You're putting trucks on local streets
Submitted by urbanresidue on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 12:43.


Could you please visit the area and familiarize yourself with its layout and issues... or at the very least look at a map before posting this stuff?

Adding a ramp connecting the Cross-Bronx to West Farms Road would be putting trucks on local streets. West Farms Road is a local street.

Putting trucks on West Farms Road has obvious defects, and that suggestion in no way serves any interests of the local community.

Please check the map now and try to follow along:

Diverting trucks from the Sheridan onto Westchester Avenue would make children cross that traffic between the school on one side and the playground on the other. (And, unlike Starlight Park, there would be no safe, grade separated access.)

Late at night, trucks would be driving below the windows of residents on Boone Avenue, who currently have some distance and grade separation to filter some of the noise.

You would put all the trucks in conflict with local traffic, cyclists, pedestrians, etc. when it all crossed another local street at Westchester Avenue. (We should be improving conditions by redesigning the existing ramps to become a safer and more attractive pedestrian environment, not dumping more trucks into the intersection!)

Your suggestion would put the truck traffic onto a street that subway passengers from the 6 subway station have to cross if they are going west (most of them do).

As for diversion to the Bruckner - you still haven't answered the two very basic, and absolutely necessary question about what happens when there's an incident on the Bruckner.

1) How can you propose to increase the travel distance and decreasing travel speeds for trucks if you care about air quality?

2) Are you really ok trapping all the trucks to idle in Hunts Point whenever there is an incident on the Bruckner, because you've removed the alternate route?

Please, can you try to engage in a meaningful discussion that actually addresses how this scheme could address the fatal flaw with air quality and lack of alternate routes? I suppose not, since you consistently choose not to address this real world roadblock to your poorly planned scheme.

When you advance yet another argument that has absolutely no regard for the actual living conditions of the people in the neighborhood, you demonstrate that your only true interest is an abstract idea of "highway removal."

Moreover, your attempts to discredit the work of professional planners will need to find arguments that rely on less obvious defects.

Where Should Questions About Sheridan Be Resolved
Submitted by Charles Siegel on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 14:50.

I think these questions should be resolved by a thorough study of all alternatives done by professional planners, allowing input from all concerned parties.

You seem to be suggesting that these questions should be resolved by a discussion between two people in the comments section of planetizen.

Charles Siegel

Questions Were Already Resolved - Time for a Real Plan!
Submitted by urbanresidue on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 16:33.

The question has ALREADY been resolved through a planning study, Charles. The professional planners clearly identified the fatal flaws.

For some reason, you refuse to accept the study's findings. Yet you are unable to provide any meaningful argument to discredit the study. The transparent attempt to cast doubt was easily dismissed with a few, really basic facts.

This is now the second study to reach the same conclusion.

What do you want, a study to study the study?

When something doesn't work, at some point you move on and use your resources to craft a plan that provides real benefits.

Study the Alternatives
Submitted by Charles Siegel on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 16:53.

I want a full study of the Sheridan removal, including a study of the two alternatives proposed by the public that I mentioned above.

Those two alternatives were never studied.

Those alternatives have been proposed by local people who have a stake in the outcome, who have followed the planning process closely, and who very familiar with local conditions, and who are very familiar with the traffic issues involved.

I don't think those proposals should be dismissed on the say-so of one anonymous internet commenter who is obviously biased.

If we have a full study of Sheridan removal, you will be able to state your objections to those proposals, local people who support removal will be able to answer your objections, and professional planners will be able to make a decision after having heard all the information.

For example: You claim there would be an unsafe school crossing. Is there any way to mitigate that problem? We won't know unless there is a planning process where you can make that objection, and the supporters of Sheridan removal can respond to it.

Charles Siegel

Could be worth the formality so we can move on
Submitted by urbanresidue on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 19:18.

To be honest, though, to cut through the obstructionism, I wouldn't object to a study of the West Farms "alternative."

The fatal flaws can be thoroughly documented quite quickly by the planners working on this project. If providing the documentation to demonstrate how catastrophically bad it would can save time so we can move on toward implementing some improvements, I'm all for it!

Decisions Based on Facts, Not Make-Believe
Submitted by urbanresidue on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 19:12.

Until you can produce ANY fact or remotely reasonable argument to challenge the findings of either study, you are baselessly disparaging the hard work of the professional planners who have invested their time and effort to improving this community.

The issues has been carefully studied not once, but twice.

Your scheme has clear fatal flaws.

And nobody has been able to provide ANY meaningful objection to those findings.

As clearly stated before, more study on a scheme that has proven itself unfeasible is only a waste of money and time. Once you are willing to suspend reality, potential benefits become infinite, so further study of the impossible is meaningless. It only delays a REAL plan for improvements that will provide REAL benefits.

These two "new alternatives" are a fiction. But even if they weren't, no planning process can ever be successful if it always admits new, poorly defined "alternatives" instead of proceeding.

There is nothing new about the Bruckner routing, nor is it an "alternative." Relying on the Bruckner without the Sheridan has a clear fatal flaw due to the lack of alternate routing in the event of incidents. That remains true, Charles, no matter how many times you choose to ignore that basic fact.

The other "alternative" of West Farms Road as a truck route is disingenuous at best! A few years ago, Columbia planning studio put together a thoughtful proposal for a boulevard to replace the Sheridan (what would be a "Modified" scenario), which might actually be workable. These same activists rejected that option because they had decided to accept nothing short of a full removal of the Sheridan.

The full removal, no-compromise, don't confuse me with the facts campaign is precisely the problem.

It has substituted the means for the end.

In their campaign to "remove the Sheridan," certain activists have lost sight of the real goals of improving the community. As this last "alternative" shows, some of them are now willing to sacrifice the needs of the community to achieve the highway removal. Seriously - why are we even having a discussion about forcing everybody who gets off the subway cross a truck route?!

To be clear: a West Farm Road-only option for a truck route was never identified earlier through ANY of the community-based planning that continued of the course of many years. That's because it's a bad idea that wouldn't work. It was ONLY thrown out now in a desperate effort to try discrediting the planning work, by suggesting they were less than comprehensive by leaving something, anything, out. This is transparent and dishonest obstructionism, and should be recognized for what it is.

I am not asking anybody to make any decisions based on my comments here. I am merely providing some clarity on this issue in hopes that other outsiders, who may not be sufficiently familiarity with the area and the issues, will not continue interjecting themselves into the process. It is harmful to real planning and community building when outsiders put their campaigns for generic ideas ahead of real improvements that address the actual conditions in our locale.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Matter of Ideologies?

Mary Kennedy was described as an enviromentalist and an architect.

Her estranged ex-husband to be, also described as an enviromentalist, though not neccessarily an architect.

Did the post 2006 break up of their marriage have something to do with ideology?

I ask this knowing a bit about some of the organizations they were juxtapositioned with.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The "Westway Rule" a constant stream of articles demanding attention at page 182

As a source for and reader of the alternative press, I have found one principle that stands ut: to assist social change activism, an alternative weekly must run repeated stories on the same issue. I refer to this principle as the “Westway Rule”, named for the long proposed highway for New York’s West Side. During much of the 1980s, you could not pick up an issue of the Village Voice without reading about the horrors of Westway.

As a Voice subscriber living 3,000 miles away from the project, I might easily ignore articles about the latest deficiency in the Westway environmental impact report. Yet the constant stream of stories demanded my attention. I eventually took a strong rooting interest in the defeat of Westway and looked forward to reading prominent opponent Marcy Benstock’s latest salvo against it. If the Voices’s ongoing Westway stories won over someone totally unfamiliar with Manhattan’s West Side, I could only imagine their impact on area residents. The defeat of Westway in the 1980s surely resulted from many factors, but the Voice’s ongoing coverage had to be one of them.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ed Koch Interview About Westway

Interesting 2011 video interview of former N.Y. City Mayor Ed Koch about the aborted Westway highway project.

Koch did NOT oppose Westway on philosophical grounds, and wanted something for the people of New York City that they wanted -- freezing MTA fares for 4 years. Koch extracted that as a promise from New York Governor Hugh Carey, who reneged on it nonetheless in 1979, helping undermine support for Westway.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Trump on U.S. Decline

Interview with Donald Trump
Our Infrastructure Paralysis- Portender of Our Ultimate Defeat By China

The U.S. is vital to the Western World, yet is being seriously undermined by its Infrastructure Paralysis

Vital to the U.S. are its major cities, particularly Washington D.C. and New York.

The New York Metropolitan Region is vital.

We need to recognize it- improve the infrastructure particularly the roads.

Yes roads, including railroads and not excluding roads- that is not excluding grade separated highways. We need both. Screw this adversarial shit.

We need to improve the northeastern railroad corridor between Boston and Washington D.C., increasing speeds at least by an additional 75 to 100 mph for 150-220 mph train service better connecting the Boston-New York-Philadelphia-Baltimore-Washington, D.C. super-region, relieving our airports of much of the super shuttle New York to Washington, D.C. flights, and freeing up space for longer flights, while reducing the emissions of higher altitude CO2 emissions to lower level emissions from whatever we burn to generate the electricity, assuming we don’t use some form of nuclear, hydro-power or a better value bio-fuel as Hemp or Algae.

We need to fix the Washington, D.C. interstate highway system- shit if they object, make ‘em a state to justify calling these ‘interstate’ highways- done in a more updated, environmentally friendly way with the maximum use of existing cleared corridors and a heavy use of tunnels or ‘cover-ways’. Just look at my prototype alongside my towers beneath the recently under construction Riverside Drive southern extension. That proves the lie that freeways don’t belong in cities; rather we need more, done in this fashion, as tunnel beneath surface roads. Forcing all of the vehicular traffic upon a single grade is so suburban – thing of ranch houses – and how the now trendy doctrinaire stance against urban freeways pushed through such Jesuitical entities as the “Congress on New Urbanism” which can’t even describe the semi-underground Route 34 Freeway stub in New haven, CT correctly, was applied frequently against urban railroads particularly prior to the project constructing the current Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, N.Y. and covering over its yards to the rear with new development that ranks amongst the city’s most prestigious area. We can smoothly glide I-95 inside the Beltway as God intended by the conveniently located electrical power transmission line corridor some 250 feet already in width to a cut and cover reconstruction of the Washington D.C. Red Line Northern Railroad, into the proposed Grand Arc as proposed in that feisty Washington, D.C. freeways blog, “A Trip Within The Beltway”, silently alongside Catholic University of America, just as the future West Side Highway Tunnel shall pass quietly beneath Riverside Drive next to my towers, protecting their property values as any such spectacular area must mandate. A Washington, D.C. “Big Dig” -- really no more a discredited *concept* than anything else constructed under shoddy, good old boys’ club (fraternity order) no bid contracting! --  is imperative. Are the new urbainist types who pretend that highway don’t matter, and that an otherwise multilayered urban environment can not possibly extend to grade separation for vehicles (and don’t give a sh*t about road design such as that blinders-wearing 'guru' Jane Jacobs who would rather that highways be environmentally invasive) , would all be okay with such shoody contracting and constructing for light rail and transit oriented real estate development. Jeez.

So are major improvements in and around New York City.

First and foremost (asides from the northeastern corridor high speed rail passing through the area), we NEED that tunnel, the Cross Sound Tunnel, connecting Long Island and Westchester and I-287, proposed by developer since about 2005, and providing the first new link to the island since the completion of the Throgs Neck Bridge in 1961- a fire beneath its mainland bound island onramp in 2009 attesting to the serious need for at additional crossings to and from Long Island, at least to Westchester I-287 and at least an additional crossing to Connecticut, plus one tunneled via the existing LIRR Bay Ridge railroad right of way as an encased tunnelway – existing neighborhoods must have these new highways as ‘cover-ways’ as should places like Catholic University of America and my west side towers – to a new tunnel crossing beneath New York Bay bypassing Staten Island and connecting to I-78 in New Jersey hence way better connecting Newark and JFK airports.

The Cross Sound Tunnel proposal makes perfect sense environmentally. It a deep drilled design, meaning no continuous surface disruption as drilled deep underground, with the plan being for the cut and cover approaches to be constructed with a staging of the lid or roof early during the excavation, minimizing the visible construction footprint while bringing early the benefits of the new parkland. Initially proposed as a triple tube , the center for maintenance and emergency access, it was subsequently proposed with an enlarged center tube to accommodate a potential railway. Indeed its so environmentally sensible that it wastefully diverts to the east of Oyster Bay increasing the length and hence the costs for no apparent reason other than perhaps an overly powerful entity and or interests where a drilled tunnel is insufficient. No period, just as was said in the years leading up to 1973 when Gov. Rockefellor crumbled on the Robert /Moses proposed Cross Sound Bridge.

The Cross Sound Tunnel was about to receive the public endorsement of NY Governor Elliot Spitzer with the announcement of a financing deal with Bear Sterns- read about it in the LI Real Estate Journal. It appears that this was topped by that silly sex scandal they used as the reason or lets be extra frank- excuse they used to stop the tunnel- jesus he was client number nine at an outfit called the ‘emperor’s club’ yet what did we ever get to hear about clients one through eight, and ten?!

What a scam. We need to investigate who were the – lets be extra frank again – assholes, stopping a seriously needed and environmentally friendly transportation link as this. Think about it, anywhere, people had to experience surface road construction, or if tunnel, still much surface disruption during the construction, at least in spots anyway. Here the project is virtually entirely drilled deep moled without the surface disruption. Yet these self indulgent wealthy assholes get to block that- even when weirdly routed out of the way?

Likewise with the neglect of our existing antiquated arterial net as the northern connections into and through the City, the Brooklyn Queens, Major Deegan and Bruckner-Sheridan Expressways.

If I were Governor or President I would do everything to bring these highways up to spec, with full 12 foot lanes, shoulders and some improvement design-wise with the tunnel- just look at the future West Side Highway Tunnel beneath Riverfront Drive alongside – towers. The BQE needs that tunnel recently proposed and now dropped hopefully as a political slant to attract Obama’s attention for some funds.

The Kosciezko Bridge replacement is good though is shy at least a lane or two in each direction, and greater mitigation on the form of covering the BQE is mandated in neighborhoods such as Williamsburg.

And we need to improve the roads to the north, including the lack of a “subway” line to the terminals at LaGuardia Airport; improve the approaches to the Triborough/”RFK” and in the Bronx.

Do something way more useful in this decade for the Bronx and areas within as Mott Haven- that waterfront industrial wastelands area south of Yankee Stadium has tremendous potential with the Deegan Expressway in a new Cincinnati Fort Washington Way open roof tunnel with the roof being concurrent and future real parkland and or real estate development along a waterfront that become more than a localized enclave rather than one such hemmed in by the existing inadequate and divisive 6 lane 1939 vintage spec Triborough approach/Deegan.

Likewise we should ultimately do something about the elevated Bruckner; perhaps underground its northbound direction while maintaining its monumental through the windshield vista southbound upon a prettier viaduct. Also we need a more elegant solution connecting with the Sheridan with air rights development alongside a restored Bronx Riverfront. Ultimately they should extend the Sheridan along or even under 177th Street to connect with the Bronx River Parkway with an extension as once planned to CoOp City, though with much of it encased in cover-way to protect the adjacent neighborhoods and land values. Likewise and more into the future, such an approach could be used for an expressway along and beneath the Bronx River Parkway corridor connecting to a Mt Vernon east-west arterial and ultimately I-87 with a design solution providing greater useable park-space.

But more immediately, we do that we need to uncork the I-95 bottleneck with the premature lane drop at the interchange with the Pelham Parkway by extending the 4th lane at least to the Hutchinson River Parkway with a longer merge lane, or further to Co-Op City, with some minor geometry work. Longer term should have any future work on the I-95 New England Thruway to eventually accommodate the additional lanes through New Rochelle, with the depressed segments further mitigated as cover-ways. Likewise with the Deegan, brought up to date with a minimum of 4 lanes in each direction through the Bronx, with the area around Fordham Avenue and further north particularly as cover-ways to better connect the area regionally and locally.

We need to relieve the Cross Bronx Expressway, starting with a new link connecting the Cross County Parkway via respectively short and long tunnels flanking a new Yonkers-Alpine New Jersey Bridge, with the latter long tunnel connecting to a northern extension of the New Jersey Turnpike

We likewise need to expand east-west rail connectivity- it would be criminal for NYSDOT to abide by building the replacement Tappan Zee without the lower deck featured in one of the two remaining official options under consideration.

Likewise we need additional capacity. To the north by twinning Bear Mountain Bridge with a set of drilled tunnels to supplement that hairy ride on the eastern side. To the south by the new Yonkers-Alpine Bridge, at least two new passenger railroad tunnels into midtown Manhattan, the 4th tube of the Lincoln Tunnel, at least two additional sets of parallel tubes to the Holland Tunnel, plus the new multi-model Cross Harbor I-287/I-78 Highway-Railway Tunnel connecting Brooklyn directly with New Jersey. This is all long overdue.

The political elites alas don’t give a shit, even after 911 which is exceptionally galling.

Look at how NY State officials botched and crumbled the idea of a West Side Highway Tunnel alongside the WTC which at should be designed at least to provide a seemless connection with the Brooklyn Battery and Battey Park Tunnels. Yet NYS DOT never came up with a truly such adequate proposal instead pushing these short assed shallow tunnels precluding a new downtown underground pedestrian concourse, now instead we get a “Freedom Tower” with a trade off of its 20 floors being essentially un-rented space.

Indeed, look how they folded on Westway during the 1980s.

Like it was all an excuse to distract the masses, showing the “progressives” and “environmentalists” as fools.

Likewise with “limited government”/”conservative assholes who identified the great waste of money as Westway but were okay with spending billions for that cigarette market protection racket of a drug war, prisons, courts, “treatment” and other assorted bullshit. ‘Fiscal conservative’ Lew Lerhman was such a Knights of Malta suck up assh*le.

Beware any politicians.  Whether, Knights of Malta, Opus Dei, Phi Crappa whatever college fraternity, or directly rather than indirectly Masonic, such as Al Sharpton, without understanding it as something than mere personal advancement.  It's not good to so neglect our infrastructure life-lines -- which is what roads are.

2012 - April 1 - South Mall Blogger

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Disconnect with Logic

"...convert the Vine Street Expressway back into an ordinary city street"?!?!

Timothy B. Lee

The really disruptive freeways are the ones that divide urban neighborhoods from one another. Philadelphia’s Vine Street Expressway, a below-grade freeway which provides East-West traffic through the heart of downtown Philadelphia, is a good example. Not only does it damage the fabric of urban life north of downtown, but its chronic congestion means that it’s often not much faster than driving on ordinary city streets.

If money were no object, the best solution would be to put the expressway underground in the style of Boston’s Big Dig. But assuming that’s not in the budget, I think the next-best option would be for planners to admit their predecessors’ mistake and convert the Vine Street Expressway back into an ordinary city street. City streets take up less land than freeways, so the government could likely sell the extra land off to recoup some of the costs of the project.

"...convert the Vine Street Expressway back into an ordinary city street"- as its already is below grade, thus already underground level and hence already an existing clearing beneath city street level and hence grade separated and thus not a city street.

The correct answer would be to cover the Vine Street Expressway, with parkland and or air right real estate development.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Too Much Value


A few weeks ago I came home from the supermarket with a 5+ pound piece of hamburger meat at under $2.00 @ pound was significantly cheaper than the dog food that I would have otherwise bought for feeding our pair of ShihTzu.

Upon seeing this, my father has a negative outburst, simply from the size of the package of meat. I explain to him that this was actually less then half the price of what he was paying for dog food, aka Alpo or Caesars. He had some difficulty accepting this, but days later was coming home from the market with hamburger meat and not dog food, admitting to me that I was right. Dog food was an overpriced racket, pricier for food that we humans would not eat unless ordered at gunpoint or otherwise highly desperate.

Thinking about it got him to see things my way, but it was the initial sight of all of that meat that I got for the money that provoked the initial negative reaction. All of that meat- just so much and thus all of that value for the price, even though he had not known the price, and even when told, still persisted with the negative reaction. Instances as this certainly say something about how human minds work.

This is what happens on a larger scale, a prime example of this being New York City's aborted Westway Project to replace the outdated West Side Highway with a modern interstate highway, the southern part buried in tunnelway within new landfill extending Manhattan an additional block.

It was to cost $2-3 billion, of which 90% was to be paid by the Federal government

It would have created some 93 acres of new land, much of which was to locate new real estate development with a simple extension of the street grid to a waterfront promenade rather than the cul de sac development to the south, of Battery Park City, providing a perpetual source of additional property tax revenue to the City of New York.

Nonetheless it was quickly attacked as a "boondoggle" by a political campaign behaving as if obvious to these benefits, and seeing it as a source of funds to transfer to NYC's much used, much run down, and much poorly managed MTA subway system- never-mind the idea of doing that with the new Manhattan extension development tax revenues, let alone simply reducing the wasteful corruption within the MTA which would yield way more funds than aborting Westway. By their own figures on their website, the "Straphangers' Campaign" which vigorously protested Westway, got far more funds for transit by other means than aborting Westway.

Westway came under vicious attack as "too expensive": never-mind the studies leading to it concluding that its concept of an outboard alignment tunnel via landfill -- that it, located at the outer edge of the new landfill -- was the most cost effective as there were no utilities to move, with construction bypassing the existing WSH-12th Avenue-West Street corridor, while ultimately providing all that new largely taxable land. Of what was not taxable included a new Westway State Park in an area lacking waterfront parkland between 72nd Street and Batter Park.

The legal arguments were questionable. It was attacked for attracting traffic and thus somehow increase pollution, never mind that it was simply replacing an existing 6 lane 1929 specification freeway with a 6 lane modern interstate highway with the same number of through lanes, but with shoulders and improved merge lanes. The clean air argument was finally thrown out of court as it should have particularly with the new Westway tunnel which would do much to shield the area from this road corridor's traffic. So the 'environmentalists' indoctrinated to believe that much needed transit refurbishments were best funded by cancelling highway projects irregardless, caught upon a new idea, that Westway presented an unacceptable impact to the population of Striped Bass fish that amongst other areas, lay eggs along the existing sea-wall where Westway would extend Manhattan- being attracted there by a sewer outlet! It was hardly a natural habitat-hatchery, along a mile of so of hundreds of miles of Hudson River, with the Westway tunnel and landfill probably serving to improve the Hudson River environment by better shielding it from Manhattan run-off, while maintaining a traffic light free highway for the vast bulk of the vehicular traffic reducing brake dust emissions. Despite the long term environmental benefits of the proposed Westway Highway Tunnel, the stripped bass issue would be more of an excuse than a reason, thus relatively little attention was given to simply dropping a few junked rail-cars into the water to serve as new underwater hatcheries.

September 11, 1985 shall remain an infamous date in New York with its State legislature would voting to surrender to this sort of 'environmentalist' sophistry and "trade-in" Westway.

On the surface it reflected a frustration over the officials inadequate consideration of the numbers of fish affected, a point that the legal opponents used to bludgeon the project in the courts, and an 'environmentalist' movement clearly not interested in Westway's many environmental advantages, but totally dedicated to convince people to forget the great many other better ways to fund transit -- like opening up the MTA's books, to reducing corruption, including so many other corrupt wastes of funds as the 911 induced wars and of course that cigarette-pharma market protection racket of the 'war on drugs safer than alcohol and cigarettes.

Notably, it was a mere one year after Westway's cancellation when the mainstream media used the fatal cocaine overdose of University of Maryland student and draft pick for the Boston Celtics Len Bias as the excuse to embark upon spending 100s of billions addiction on prosecuting the 'drug war' including constructing countless new prisons- with then NYS governor Mario Cuomo bragging about building more new prisons than any previous NY governor, and NY Senator Alfonse D'Amato voting to transfer some of the Wednesday funds to 'anti-narcotics' police overtime while sending the message that the only two class of human consumables safe enough to allowed for retail sale without labeling the ingredients are alcoholic beverages and Tobacco.

And to think of that great swath of people against Westway on supposed fiscal grounds who supported the drug war, such as Cuomo's failed 1982 challenger, Lew Lehrman.

In hindsight, the great disproportionate (think of word published per amount of funds involved) media campaign against Westway was a conditioning to get people to acquiesce to spending far greater sums on the drug war and other such wars, particularly post 911. A recent Village Voice front page claiming that the west African Iboga plant root bark alkaloid Ibogaine may be a miracle drug 'if they survive the trip' as if it were especially dangerous, reinforces my perception of these mainstream "muckrackers" (of which the Village Voice was a major editorialist against Westway) as pseudo-progressive lock-step campaigns of disinformation and distraction.

Such forms of journalism, IMHO work to no small degree to shape popular opinion bringing this phenomenon of 'fiscal conservatives against Westway, but so little else.

With the flip side of disproportionately too little reporting on other things that government spend upon, people on the "left", as those on the "right", are being less educated than trained.

"... if they can survive the trip"

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

TPZ Lower Deck In Jeopardy

Useful for Passenger & Freight Railway
Currently in Jeopardy with continuing consideration of "Short Span" Option WithOUT Lower Deck

Two Sets of Choices Remain: "Long Span" With Lower Deck;"Short Span" Mono-Deck, and Cable Stayed Versus Arch

According to what I was told at the February 28, 2012 public meeting for NYSDOT's Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement Project, it will not preclude adding a separate transitway, with options to place it upon a separate parallel span, or attached between the new twinned spans.

When I asked about how the transitioning of the transitway to one side of I-87/I-287 (as it would not be in the median), I was told it could be suspended below. That would avoid a lengthy transition in the median. But that left a new unanswered question that since the renderings showed the monodeck being somewhat lower than the double deck, then would not the mono deck need then be raised highway to maintain the same clearance for river traffic. I was told that the double-deck would cost $200 million more, while providing space for at least two sets of twin tracks for separate commuter and freight train cars, which may well be less expensive than affixing a railway suspended between the spans with capacity for only a single set of tracks.

It appears that NYSDOT is about to go with the option providing LESS transit capacity yet at a potentially greater cost? Would have the George Washington and Verrazano Narrows Bridges been better values if not designed with lower decks?

NYSDOT must release plans that show the full approaches to these lower level decks, with the construction of this segment included in this project, whether or not the connecting transit segments are included, or deferred to a future project.

Groups stating their support for transportation including transit must demand the project to include the lower deck